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Hello Vermont Birders:

My brother Casey, my friend Todd Day, and I wandered around the Champlain
Valley for a fair portion of the day. Given the chilly, windy conditions,
we mostly car-birded with the goal of spotting raptors, buntings and the
like. We had tremendous success with the raptors but dipped on Snow
Buntings.

We meandered the roads of Bridport, Addison, Panton, and Ferrisburg. Not a
single Snow Bunting was seen, let alone a Lapland Longspur but raptors were
everywhere we looked. Most notable was the number of Rough-legged Hawks. If
you asked me before today, I would have said that it was sort of a down
year for RLHA wintering in the Champlain Valley. We came across 20 RLHA
(including several dark morphs) today and I am confident we did not
double-count. I haven't lived in Vermont very long but it was easily my
best day for RLHA here. It's a bit on the early side but I suspect we might
have been seeing some migrants. Two more sets of of sharp eyes certainly
helped.

Here is a pic of one of the dark morph birds:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/emhimages/8485002528/in/photostream/

The Red-tailed Hawks were all over the place with more than 30 seen. We had
eight pairs perched side-by-side.

Here is a pic of an adult:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/emhimages/8485002392/in/photostream/

In addition, two Northern Harriers and eight Bald Eagles were spotted.

A flock of ~45 Bohemian Waxwings were at the corner of Jersey Street and
Pease Road.

Yesterday, we had 20 Pine Grosbeaks at Technology Park in South Burlington.
Photo here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/emhimages/8483908085/in/photostream/

Good birding,

Eric Hynes
HInesburg